Project-based Learning Theory Course 2019

In January of 2019, I will be facilitating a theory course on Project-based learning at the University of Winnipeg as part of the Post Baccalaureate programme. This will be followed by the PBL Applied course in Spring 2019. The description is below:

pbde-winter-2019_pdf

I have had several people contact me regarding how the course will unfold, so I thought I would post this note as a means to clarify some of the details.

Online Format

This is an online course that is live. We will meet on Tuesdays (beginning January 8th, 2018) from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm CST via Zoom. While each session will be recorded, members of the group are responsible for attending every Tuesday night. This is not an online course that is static. The advantage of this format is that it provides greater access for more participants while still bringing people together for rich and authentic conversations about how and why we learn. (It also means no winter travel on sketchy roads in the dark.)

Each week, we will engage in readings, guests speakers, virtual field trips, and project work. Participants will be asked to design a project that they can reflect upon throughout the course. Participants will be asked to think, read, listen, write, and speak about the theoretical underpinnings of PBL and about their own practice.

We will use Edmodo as a means for housing our online discussions and course documentation.

Rationale for course

As project-based learning schools become more and more part of the pedagogical mainstream in North America, the need for teacher education in is this area is paramount. While project-based learning can be a powerful platform for authentic learning, transformation, and growth, the danger is that project work is merely activities, teacher-led, or not rigorous. With several PBL schools in Winnipeg, and a desire at all levels, including higher education, to pursue meaningful and educative experiences for learners, a theoretical course on PBL is essential.

This course is designed to offer practitioners a foundational understanding of the evolution of PBL, while examining what we deem an educative experience.  Learners will look at a variety of critical issues related to the success of PBL and how PBL manifests itself in various contexts.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, learners will:

  • Have explored a variety of different theoretical models of project-based learning
  • Will have entered into dialogical discourse as to what is meant by an experience
  • Be able to articulate the foundations of project-based learning
  • Have conducted an inquiry project whereby they pose a research question, offer an argument, and provide evidence for their rationale
  • Articulate how they would theoretically employ project-based learning principles into their own practice
  • Describe the process of introducing learners to projects and guide learners to propose and carry out these projects
  • Be able to discuss a variety of assessment practices and tools used in project-based learning.

Assigned Readings

Boss, S., Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2015). Setting the standard for project-based learning: A proven approach to classroom instruction. Alexandria: ASCD.

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond Learning by doing: theoretical currents in experiential education. New York: Routledge.

Related Readings/Bibliography

Bassey, M. (2010). Education for the rest of the world: An illustration of John Dewey’s principles of continuity and interaction. Educational Studies, 36(1), 13-20.

Dewey, J. (1933). Dewey outlines utopian schools. Retrieved from: http://www.yorku.ca/rsheese2/3410/utopia.htm

Dewey, J. (1938). Education and experience. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Dewey, J. (2008). Democracy and education. Project Gutenberg eBook, retrieved from: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/852/852-h/852-h.htm

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: The Seabury Press.

Glass, R. (2001). On Paulo Freire’s philosophy of praxis and foundations for liberation education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 15-25.

Hassan, S. (2013) Guiding high school students through applied internship projects in college environments: A MET School story. Education Canada Retrieved from: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/guiding-high-school-students-through-applied-internship-projects-college-en

Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning : Experience as the source of learning and development. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2010). Seven essentials for project-based learning. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 34-37.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pearson, G. (2012). Success, but slowly, as MET School redefines learning. Education Canada, 52(5), 37.

Senge, P. (2012). Creating schools for the future, not the past for all students. Leader to leader, 65, 44-49.

Zull, J. (2002). The Art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

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Sustainability & the Environment

eco-literacy-tube-map-3-1-no-districts

Image taken from Eco-Labs.org

For those folks in the Post Baccalaureate programme at the University of Winnipeg or for those teachers thinking of heading back, here is a preview of a course I will be facilitating in the Winter term.

The course is officially titled Sustainability and the Environment and it is a requisite for the Sustainability stream in the Post Bac programme. The course can also be used as an elective in other courses.

The course is a hybrid course, meaning that much our interaction will be online using Edmodo while we will also meet on three Saturdays between January and March. We will meet on the following days:

January 16th – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

February 20th – 8:30 AM  – 4:30 PM

March 19 – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

If you wish to join the Edmodo group now, simply enter this code: nxmw6d.

Here is the official description of the course: This course is designed to expose educators to the concepts of sustainability, ecological literacy, and systems thinking within the context of teaching and learning. As such, our learning community will explore the ecological crisis that confronts our age, the reasons why we are often paralyzed to engage in meaningful solutions, and how education, be it in its present form or other, may act as a catalyst for changes in our individual and collective attitudes and behaviour.

Course participants will be asked to engage in scholarly research and writing, virtual discussions, curriculum design, resource review and creation, and application of learning pertaining to how we help develop an ecologically literate society.

This is an intensive course and will require full engagement from all participants within the learning community.

Here are the texts we will be using:

Denton, P. (2012). Gift ecology: Reimagining a sustainable world. Rocky Mountain Books, Vancouver, BC (Those who took the Global Citizenship course with me will already have a copy of this.)

Orr, D. (1992). Ecological literacy: Education and the transition to a postmodern world. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.

Callenbach, E. (1975). Ecotopia. Bantam Books, New York.

I would also heavily recommend the following texts for the course and for our teaching and learning in general:

http://www.amazon.ca/Beyond-Learning-Doing-Theoretical-Experiential/dp/0415882087

http://www.amazon.ca/Beyond-Learning-Doing-Theoretical-Experiential/dp/0415882087

To advance our thinking within our learning community, there will be weekly assignments, tasks, and subsequent readings to help us focus on how and why we teach and learn and how, as educators, we might play a massive role in creating sustainable communities.

As a learning community, we will be creating two ebooks in our time together. The first will be a review of resources currently “out there” which focus on systems thinking and ecological literacy. The second ebook will be a collection of learning experiences we have created and applied in our teaching.

You can check out the rest of the assignments and University policies on the official course outline. Please note, if you take the course, you will need to be active on Twitter, Edmodo, Google Hangout and other platforms which will enable us to connect and share ideas. The course, ultimately, is what you make of it. I am looking forward to it, as I love learning from master teachers.

If you have any questions, please email me at mhenderson at sjr.mb.ca

Kornelsen: Stories of Transformation

From uwinnipeg.ca

From uwinnipeg.ca

In an era of ubiquity when it comes to positioning, conferences, and subsequent books on the notions of experiential education and global citizenship, Lloyd Kornelsen, professor of Education at the University of Winnipeg and former acting head of the Global College, offers a breath of fresh air and an impressive conceptual analysis of both concepts.

In Stories of Transformation: Memories of a Global Citizenship Practicum, Kornelsen describes a School Initiated Course and learning experience from 2003 whereby he accompanied a group of high school students from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate to Costa Rica. Several years later, with questions in mind regarding the utility and transformational power of such excursions, Kornelsen interviewed the participants to examine how these practicums line up with the theoretical underpinnings provided by likely suspects: Dewey, Freire, Kolb, Illich,  Nussbaum, Appiah, and more.

The power in Kornelsen’s journey is the questions he raises about the efficacy of these trips — where affluent youth truck down to the South for the purposes of Socratic self-examination, transformation, and to gain insight into this idea of a global citizenry. Kornelsen pulls no punches and offers several pitfalls of such learning experiences, but fundamentally asserts that two critical capacities are required for educators.

The first is what he refers to as teachers needing to take responsibility for their teaching selves. By this, educators need to be global citizens, defined principally by Nussbaum and Appiah. Teachers must be critical thinkers, and examine that jumping on a plane and living with local families may have its limitations and ethical uneasiness. How do we as educators provide our students with the support and experiences necessary to overcome these limitations? Are we simply sending students on trips and hoping for the best?

The second capacity refers to something that I fail at often — that is the need to relate to our learners as Korenlesen suggests, “inter-subjectively.” Educators must foster and facilitate learning communities whereby the experience of each learner is honoured and respected and where the elders provide nudges and insight for further educative experiences and dissonance.

This book is well researched, painfully honest, and a window into what excellence in teaching looks like. Stories of Transformation is a must read for all teachers who truly seek to engage learners in meaningful conversations about who we are as a species and our purpose on this planet.

Rawls, Justice, & Assisted Suicide

Yesterday, we had a fantastic visit from from Brian Keenan from the University of Winnipeg. He engaged us in a dialogue about the notion of justice and helped us solidify some of the ideas we have studied. Dr. Keenan also elaborated on Rawls’ conceptualization of justice. Many of us were “okay” with this theory of justice, whereas others questioned his second principle.

Coincidentally, the Supreme Court of Canada is listening to arguments on whether physician-assisted suicide should or should not be constitutional. Those who are on the “right to die” side of things, argue that certain sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are being violated.

How does Rawls’ theory of justice inform the debate on assisted suicide? How does your understanding of justice inform your opinion on the decision the SCC will make? Be sure to be clear with your argument and use evidence to support it.

To help answer these questions, I have posted the following links:

CBC Article and Video clips on SCC Case

Rawls and the Question of Physician­Assisted Suicide

LA Times on John Rawls (a Primer)